Northern Nutrition Supplements
FREE Bodybuilding and Fitness eBook
Learn Amazing Secrets To
Build Muscle, Lose Fat and Increase Strength!


Enter your first name and a valid email address
for free instant access to the workout ebook.

Name:

Email:


Bodybuilding and Fitness FAQ

This page dedicated to answering your questions about supplements, training, the industry, or any other topic that you may find helpful. We here at Northern Nutrition will tried our best to answer your questions as quickly and thoroughly as possible. If you wish to ask a question, please submit it here.

Supplements

Testosterone Booster

Ecdysterone Supplement

Kre Alkalyn Creatine

Amino Acids for Bodybuilding

Human Growth Hormone Supplement

Fat Burner Stack

FAQ on Exercise

FAQ on Weight Loss

FAQ on Nutrition

FAQ on Muscle Building

FAQ on General Health

FAQ on Supplements

FAQ on Sports Preformance

 FAQ on Exercise

Q: What can I do about "stretch marks" that appear after I've been weight lifting and gaining size and strength?

A: If you are weight training and gaining some size and muscularity, chances are you will begin to develop stretch marks. This is, to a certain extent, unavoidable. You may minimize their development, however, through the application of a topical antioxidant cream that contains collagen. Regular application of this type of lotion/cream will increase skin elasticity, and thus diminish the formation of stretch marks, but it may not fully prevent their development.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I am confused about the concept of training to "absolute muscular failure." What is it?

A: Before we define "absolute muscular failure," let's review the different types of muscular contractions. There are three types: concentric, eccentric, and isometric. When a muscle shortens, like when you curl a dumbbell, it's called a concentric contraction. When you lower the same dumbbell, your muscle lengthens, and it's called an eccentric contraction. When you contract a muscle without changing the joint angle, like when a gymnast performs an iron cross, that's an isometric or static contraction. Since there are three types of muscular contractions, there are three types of muscular failure. You fail concentrically when you cannot move the weight against resistance; you fail isometrically when you can't hold the weight at any given point in the range of motion, and you fail eccentrically when you aren't able to lower the weight under control at a given tempo. When you reach failure on all three types of muscular contractions, you've reached absolute muscular failure. Rarely do you find athletes who train to this level of failure, and it's simply because masochism isn't all that popular anymore.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: Is it ok to train a muscle that is still sore from the previous workout?

A: No! Soreness is a sign of mucle-fiber damage. If you do not allow the damage to heal, you will not make progress. Over time, you may even sustain an injury. The best progress occurs when you allow full recovery between workouts, not by seeing how hard and often you can punish your body.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I've been getting severe muscle cramps lately. What can I do to prevent them?

A: There are many potential causes of muscle cramps and therefore different ways to correct the problem. Muscle cramps may result from a lack of water intake, especially during the summer when people tend to sweat more. Many experts suggest drinking at least ten cups of water daily, especially if you're involved in athletic activity. If a mineral imbalance or lack of potassium is the problem, then a multi-mineral or potassium supplement may help prevent muscle cramps. A suggested dosage is 1,100 mg of a potassium citrate or gluconate supplement (these are abundant in health-food stores) in two divided doses daily. Consuming caffeine on a regular basis may also deplete water and potassium because it may act as a diuretic. If you're experiencing severe muscle cramps, you may want to avoid caffeine or any caffeine-containing products for awhile.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: How much water should I consume on a daily basis if I sweat a lot during my workouts? Is it really that important?

A: Muscle tissue is comprised of over 70% water, and it serves an important role in all cellular activity, so we would say it's really important! A higher protein intake requires more water to help clear your body of waste products such as ammonia and urea. Sweating from intense workouts might cause you to dehydrate and lose more water. To stay adequately hydrated, multiply your bodyweight in pounds by 0.55-that's about how much water you should drink in ounces everyday. For example, a 200-lb person needs about 110 ounces of water daily. This is about 10 to 12 glasses of water depending on the size of the glass.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: How long after I exercise should I wait to eat?

A: This is a great question! Researchers have long sought an optimal meal time after a workout to yield maximum results. There has been an ongoing debate as to when the best time to eat post-workout would be. Certain physiological mechanisms, influenced by meal timing, may very well contribute to both burning fat and building muscle. You see, after a workout, your body continues to produce powerful hormones like growth hormone and testosterone, peaking after your workout and declining from there until levels return to normal about an hour later. Due to these elevations, your body continues to burn fat and recover at an accelerated rate during that period of time. By eating, you may shut off these processes, so to maximize results you must find the balance between your post-exercise recovery meal and the elevations of these hormones.We typically recommend waiting anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes after weight training to eat. Depending on your schedule and other factors, it is always optimal to eat within the first hour after training. In fact, some people feel it is best to eat immediately after training to maximize recovery.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: Instead of doing 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training, can I just go for a 45-minute walk?

A: We believe in brief, intense physical activity. It takes a certain level of intensity to stimulate the metabolic adaptations we need to lose fat and build healthy, toned muscles. Walking is a good exercise to start with, but eventually the intensity of the exercise has to increase. You have to push yourself physically and mentally during the exercise session to get the result.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: Is it necessary to wear a lifting belt when lifting heavy weights?

A: No, a lifting belt is not necessary when heavy weight training. There are some exercises it may be helpful to use with occasionally if you're lifting an exceptionally heavy weight thereby placing a lot of stress on your spine, e.g., squats or overhead presses. Some experts believe that relying too much on a lifting belt is dangerous because it does some of the work that should be done by surrounding synergistic and stabilizer muscle groups. If the lifting belt becomes a physical or psychological "crutch" you could be setting yourself up for injuries in the future, and you definitely won't be getting all the benefit you could gain from your time spent training, but occasional use is okay.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: Why is it that after some workouts I experience extreme soreness in my muscles and after other workouts I don't?

A: Those who work out commonly experience muscle discomfort, soreness, stiffness, and/or pain. Muscle soreness occurs predominately with eccentric motion or the "negative" phase of a lift. The degree of discomfort depends on the intensity and duration of effort and the type of exercise performed. Soreness can set in at two different times: during and immediately following your workout or 24 to 48 hours later. The latter type is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and may last up to three or four days. The following list contains some factors that can contribute to muscle soreness:
  • Torn or damaged tissue: results from the microscopic tearing of muscle fibers or connective tissues.
  • Torn or damaged tissue: results from the microscopic tearing of muscle fibers or connective tissues.
  • Lactic acid: a waste by-product of metabolism that accumulates when there is insufficient oxygen or blood supply to working muscles.
Muscle spasms: painful reflexive muscle contractions caused by decreased blood flow or injuries to muscle. It's important to remember that as long as the soreness is not the result of an injury, it isn't necessarily bad to experiences a little stiffness or soreness following a workout. Once the micro trauma to muscle fibers heals, the muscle will be more resistant to damage from future workouts.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: When is the best time to do aerobic exercise?

A: Try doing aerobic exercise first thing in the morning at an intense level. Some research indicates that the most efficient fat-burning occurs when you do aerobics right after you wake up, after an overnight fast. When you do this, you can potentially burn more fat for fuel than if you did the same amount of aerobic exercise in the afternoon, after you have had a few meals.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

 FAQ on Weight Loss

Q: What is meant by the term "Basal Metabolic Rate?"

A: Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), or basal metabolism represents the minimal energy expended to keep a resting, awake body alive. This requires about 60-70% of the total energy use by the body. The processes involved include maintaining a heartbeat, respiration, temperature, and other functions. It does not include energy used for physical activity or digesting foods. Basal metabolism accounts for roughly 1 kcalorie/kilogram(2.2 lbs.)/hour. We use the term "roughly," due to the fact that the amount of energy used for basal metabolism depends primarily upon lean body mass.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I find myself still wanting to eat ice cream and cereal. I weight just over 200 pounds and would like to drop 30 pounds of fat. I'm trying to eat close to 2,000 calories a day, but it's hard not to eat more. What can I do?

A: We do not recommend prescription appetite suppressants because there is a "natural" way to control your cravings. Everytime you crave carbs, eat protein. For example, if you want ice cream, eat a sliced, grilled chicken breast with lemon or lemon juice on it. When you crave cereal, eat six ounces of beef with steak sauce.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I have been trying to lose about 15 pounds of excess fat. What nutrition tips do you suggest?

A: Here's a simple plan to lose bodyfat and retain your muscle mass with suprisingly little discomfort:
  • Work with your body, not against it The worst way to try to lose fat is to starve yourself. When you do that, your body fights back by lowering your metabolic rate, sacrificing muscle tissue, and pillaging your energy levels.
  • Eat six times a dayBy feeding your body frequently throughout the day, you can avoid hunger cramps and maintain stable energy levels and a healthy metabolism.
  • Consume a lot of protein Each meal should contain a serving of protein and carbohydrates.
  • Count "portions" instead of calories A portion of your food is roughly equal to the size of your clenched fist or the palm of your hand.
  • "Pig out" once a weekRather than fasting once a week, we recommend just the opposite. One day a week, forget calorie counting, portion control, etc., and eat whatever you like.
  • Drink water, not juice or soft drinks To lose fat and maintain muscle mass, you are going to need to consume food that is calorie-sparse and nutrient-rich. Consume at least 10 cups of water everyday.
  • Monitor your progress regularly If your nutrition program is on track, you should be losing fat every single week.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I heard about this fat-loss technique of not eating after 6:00 p.m, but it seems like you'd be starving muscles of necessary nutrients like protein. Any advice?

A: Your body does need amino acids at night; in fact, if you're trying to gain muscle or even maintain muscle mass during caloric restriction, you need to eat protein every few hours throughout the day. It's probably not a good idea to go so long without eating. Even if you get up early in the morning and eat, you will still end up spending more than half of your day fasting, which is too much. If you adhere to this practice, your blood amino-acid levels will crash, which paralyzes protein synthesis and increases protein breakdown. A better idea would be to cut back on your carbohydrate intake, but still eat protein after 6:00 p.m., especially if you are trying to get lean. Insulin is more "active" early in the day than it is in the evening. Insulin sensitivity is lowest at night, so if you eat a lot of carbohydrates in the evening, there is a greater chance those carbs will end up being stored as fat.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I currently have a fairly low bodyfat percentage, but would like to get even leaner. What can I do to?

A: Here are some tips to use in order to get ripped and ready for swimsuit season:
  • Add aerobic exercise to your training program. Aerobic exercise performed first thing in the morning for 20 minutes, 3 times a week, burns up to three times more fat than aerobic exercise performed in the afternoon.
  • Use a natural fat-burning supplement like Phen-Free 30 to 60 minutes before your aerobic workout.
  • Try Glycerol. It pulls water from extracellular tissue into the blood. Take 50 ml mixed with 16 ounces of water twice a day (once in the morning and once at night) between meals. Use Glycerol only every third day you don't need it every day.
  • To really sharpen your muscularity, try a supplement designed to regulate your body-water levels naturally.
  • Be sure to drink at least a gallon of water every day. One of the best ways to eliminate excess water retention is to consume more water, not less!
  • Train intensely with weights 3 to 4 times a week for 40 to 60 minutes. · Consume five to six small meals throughout the day. To burn fat, consume fewer calories than your body burns every day, but don't skip meals!
Give these suggestions a try for four weeks, and you will be thrilled with the results!

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I workout a lot, but I still have cellulite. What are some good exercises that will target the cellulite in the back of my legs?

A: There is a lot of false information out there about how to lose fat just on the midsection or how to lose cellulite, or firm up in a certain area. The myth is that if you exercise those areas more, you are going to lose fat in that area. That is not the way it works. You need to exercise your entire body in order to stimulate the fat-burning process. Women can get rid of the cellulite and men can rid of the beer belly and love handles, but it does not happen by training those particular areas. It comes from following a complete program-an integrated, balanced approach-that brings that body back to where it is suppose to be.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I want to lose fat and tone up my body, but as a mother of two who wants to look like a mom, should I really be doing any weight training?

A: Many women believe that weight training will cause them to look masculine. Fortunately, this does not happen as easily as many women believe. Despite thousands of examples, some people still believe weights are not for women. That is fiction. The number of women using free weights in America has more than doubled in the past 10 years, from less than 8 million in 1988 to more than 17 million in 1999. When it comes to weight training, women are getting the information they need, and they're using it. They're learning, for example, that a woman's muscles are capable of doing just about anything a man's can do, in terms of relative strength and growth. Also, remember this: fat takes up five times as much space as muscle. This means if you replaced the fat on your legs with the same weight in muscle, your thighs get smaller, without losing a pound. Women (and men) worried about "bulking up" with weights need to understand this. It's your body composition that determines how you look. By replacing fat with muscle, you can make an astounding transformation without losing a lot of bodyweight. Women should actually be concerned about not having enough muscle, rather than having too much. The bottom line is, any women who is interested in losing fat, gaining strength, increasing muscle tone, and transforming her physique should be weight training.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

 FAQ on Nutrition

Q: Should I eliminate fat entirely from my diet?

A: To answer this question you must understand that not all fat is the same. There are good fats and bad fats. Also, ever person needs fat in their diet. They are vitally important to various bodily functions.
There are three types of fat. The two main ones are: Saturated fat (the bad ones), and Unsaturated fat (the good ones). The third type is Trans-Fatty Acids. This type is a harmful by-product of highly processed fats, which mostly happens with food production.
Saturated fats are the ones you should stay away from. Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature. Good examples are butter, lard, margarine, etc. Unsaturated fat is the type sold as supplements.
Unsaturated fats are also known as EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids). They are essential because your body cannot produce them. You have to consume them through your diet. Statistical research has shown that the average person does not meet his/her daily requirement of the EFA's. This is a shame because the potential health benefits of consuming EFA's are well known and numerous. They have been shown to help reduce cholesterol, improved heart function, reduce body fat (ironic isn't it), and even improved the appearance and feel of skin. They are involved in such functions as hormone production, blood pressure, allergic responsiveness, inflammation, and even nerve function.
For all you athletes out there, EFA's have the ability to improve insulin function, increase growth hormone and testosterone production (muscle and performance building hormones), and decrease muscle breakdown. The general accepted guideline is that 15-30 percent of daily food intake should be fat content. It is up to you to judge how much you need based on your reasons for taking it.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I've heard the lactose in milk products can give people a bloated look, but I've also heard skim milk is a good nutritional food. What's the deal?

A: An 8-ounce glass of skim milk contains about 85 calories and 8 grams of protein, but it also contains a simple sugar called lactose. Many individuals are lactose intolerant, which means they lack the enzyme that helps digest the milk sugar lactose. This missing enzyme can lead to gastric distress as well as a bloated feeling after the consumption of lactose-containing products. The protein in skim milk, casein, does not have some of the cool immune-system enhancing and thyroid-stimulating effects of whey or soy protein, respectively, but it is a good solid protein source. The trouble is, in order to make a substantial dent in your protein requirements for the day, you'd have to ingest a fairly large serving of skim milk, about four to five cups at one sitting. You also then would have a high amount of lactose and a relatively large serving of sodium. High levels of sodium can lead to water retention and a smooth appearance, perhaps suggesting a bloated look. Skim milk is not a bad food for those who aren't lactose intolerant, but high amounts of dairy products are not recommended when you are trying to get lean.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I am on a very low-fat nutritional program, but I know that there are such things as essential or "good" fats. How would incorporating essential fatty acids benefit me?

A: Two particular types of unsaturated fats are considered essential fatty acids or "EFA's." Our bodies can't make this type of fat but it's necessary for scores of biochemical reactions. The actual names for these substances are linoleic (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic (omega-3) fatty acids. EFA's are structural components of all cell membranes, and they are also necessary for the formation of vital chemicals in the body called "prostaglandins." Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that play a role in an enormous variety of functions including: proper regulation of blood pressure, heart function, allergic response, inflammation, nerve transmission, and even steroid hormone production. If your body lacks these two essential fatty acids, it won't be able to maximize testosterone production.
In fact, extremely low-fat intakes can cause a decrease in testosterone levels.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: What are amino acids and what do the classifications "essential" and "non-essential" mean?

A: Amino acids are the building blocks from which protein molecules are made. An amino acid is considered essential if your body cannot produce it; it therefore becomes essential for you to consume the nutrient through foods or through supplementation. Examples of essential amino acids are isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Arginine, glutamine, taurine, and alanine are conditionally essential, i.e., necessary in the childhood growth period and under some conditions in adulthood. Non-essential amino acids, which include histidine, proline, carnitine, tyrosine, cysteine, glycine, GABA, asparagine, citrulline, ornithine, and serine can be synthesized by your body, so food sources for these amino acids are not necessary for life. However, it's important to note that sports nutrition researchers have long debated over the protein requirements of athletes versus sedentary individuals, and several studies have suggested that supplementation may be needed for "optimum" levels of amino acids in hard-training athletes.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I'm a serious athlete, and I want to know how much protein I need. Can excess protein actually cause harm?

A: Protein is arguably the most important nutrient for athletes because it's a key component in retaining muscle and providing amino acids to the amino acid pool within your body. Inadequate protein intake can also make you more susceptible to over-training. Athletes should consume at least one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight daily, spread over six meals daily for proper assimilation. Regarding protein toxicity, we know of no documented clinical studies which show that a high protein intake can cause damage in healthy individuals. The RDA of 0.8 grams per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of bodyweight for protein is based on inactive people, not athletes. Athletes need a higher intake of protein to compensate for the stress they place on themselves through intensive training. We haven't seen research confirming any specific amount of protein that can be assimilated at one meal; however, a general recommendation is between 30 and 50 grams, depending on your bodyweight and timing of meals. If you want to use a protein supplement, a good time is right before you go to sleep at night, since during this time your body stores protein for the first few hours, then recycles and breaks down protein for several hours. You can also consume a protein supplement first thing in the morning to stop the protein breakdown phase of the sleep cycle. One good option is a supplement containing whey protein. Another recommendation is to ingest a fast-acting protein/carb drink immediately following your workout, because your body's metabolism is primed to feed muscle tissue at this time.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I really love pasta, but my trainer told me to avoid it as it's too fattening. I thought it was a healthy carbohydrate source. Can you give me some information about pasta's nutritional value?

A: Pasta gets a bad rap as a fattening food that's lacking in nutrition, but surprisingly, it is a low-fat, nutritious meal! It's the butter, cheese, greasy meat, and oils commonly added to pasta that make it a less-than-healthy meal. Pasta is rich in complex carbohydrates and supplies about as much protein as a whole egg (albeit an "incomplete" protein). Most pastas provide about six out of the eight essential amino acids. If you want a "complete protein" meal, you would need to include legumes such as beans or an animal protein source such as chicken or fish. Refined wheat versions of pasta contain high amounts of B vitamins, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, as well as fiber. Also, all grain-based foods produced in America, such as pasta, are fortified with folic acid. Here are some tips on choosing, storing, and cooking pasta:
  • Try to purchase pasta that comes in a box as opposed to a clear plastic bag-light exposure can destroy some of the nutrients in pasta.
  • Store your pasta in a cool, dry area, preferably in an airtight container.
  • Don't rinse the pasta unless you need to handle it right away; rinsing the pasta removes some of the water-soluble B vitamins.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I know several serious weight trainers, and their eating patterns seem to be low in fruits or vegetables. Aren't they missing important nutrients?

A: Certainly not all weight trainers have nutritional patterns like this, but many have historically concentrated on protein sources and starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, rice, or pasta in their nutrition programs. It is possible that neglecting fruits and vegetables in your nutritional program could limit your intake of certain vitamins and minerals.
There are three questions you should consider:
  • Question One: Is it important to eat fruits and vegetables, especially if you are consuming a high-tech nutrition shake?
    Answer: It might actually be better to consume the nutrition shake. Let us explain...Mother Nature is not always consistent in her allotment of vitamins and minerals in foods. For example, two oranges could vary dramatically in their Vitamin C content. Nutrition shakes are consistently manufactured to meet the label claims (at least those from reputable companies are). If the label says you are getting 50% of the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for a certain vitamin or mineral, you are.

  • Question Two: Are artificial vitamins as good as natural vitamins?
    Answer: Chemically and structurally, there is no difference. If you could examine natural and synthetic vitamins on a molecular level, you would see that they are identical.

  • Question Three: Is there anything found in fruits and/or vegetables that you cannot get in a nutrition shake that might be important for overall health?
    Answer: Most likely, the answer is yes. Fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals, which simply refers to chemicals found in plants. Many of these chemicals are alleged to have certain disease-fighting properties. So what's the bottom line? In some ways, nutrition shakes are better than fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, these shakes contain few, if any, phytochemicals. One thing you can do is buy bags of frozen fruits from the grocery store, then when you mix up your nutrition shake, toss in some frozen fruit instead of ice cubes. But that still doesn't account for the vegetables. Those pre-mixed bags of vegetables for salads you can buy in the grocery store are a great time-saver. Here's an easy, healthy meal: open one of those bags, cover it with fat-free dressing, and add a protein source like a chicken breast, lean beef, or fish. Then have a piece of fruit or whole-wheat bread on the side.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: What kind of fruit juice is best?

A: At first glance, juice seems completely healthly. It's natural and refreshing. It comes straight from the tree, or the vine, or the bush and it is way too high in calories. Not only are juices calorie-packed, but they will spike your insulin levels as well, which can throw your system out of wack. We generally do not recommend juice unless you drink it after a workout, when your muscles will "soak it up." The same goes for sodas or any other flavored drinks that are not sugar- or calorie-free. Tea (hot or cold), coffee, diet soda, and sugar-free, calorie-free fruit drinks are all okay, but water is the best.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

 FAQ on Muscle Building

Q: How do muscles grow?

A: Despite the popular opinion, muscles do not grow during exercise; they grow after exercise in the recovery phase.
Here's how it works: first, you exercise which causes possible damage to the muscles. Then during recovery, your body uses the nutrients from food and supplements to repair the muscle. In an effort to prevent this amount of damage in the future in the muscle grows back bigger and stronger, hence, muscle growth. Then you exercise again and the cycle repeats. With every cycle your muscles grow bigger and bigger.
The reason a majority of people believes that muscles grow during exercise is that blood rushes into the muscle cell, which blows it up like a balloon. (commonly referred to as a pump) People see this and think that their muscles are growing. This is not the case.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: How does drinking alcohol affect your muscle-building efforts?

A: Several studies show that it doesn't matter whether you drink occasionally or frequently-alcohol consumption results in adverse effects on muscle growth. Alcohol decreases protein synthesis and affects Type II muscle fibers (the ones used in explosive kinds of activities like intense weight training) more than Type I (the fibers used primarily in endurance kinds of activities). Excessive use of alcohol or binge drinking can result in decreased levels of testosterone and increased levels of cortisol (a muscle-destroying hormone). This has a direct effect on muscle cells that can result in significant muscle wasting, especially if protein intake is not adequate.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I have heard that it is best to consume 5-6 meals a day. Why is that?

A: The answer is you should eat more often than you do already now. To transform your body, to look better, feel better, and improve your health, you must develop the pattern of feeding your body frequently throughout the day. You should not go more than a few hours (while you are awake) without eating. There are many reasons for this. One is that eating often helps you keep your body's "food alarm" in check. This helps you convince your body and mind there is not a famine around the corner. Also, studies show eating often helps accelerate the metabolism, so you burn more calories. And when you do eat 5-6 nutritious, smaller meals a day, the food is more efficiently absorbed and processed by your body than the normal American diet of "three square" meals a day.
In fact, when you eat every few hours, you will have more energy, less hunger pains and cravings. Above all, you will be creating a "metabolic environment" which supports fat loss and muscle gains, allowing you to transform your physique in record time.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

 FAQ on General Health

Q: I read about one of these new electrical muscle stimulators. Do they really work?

A: Electrical muscle stimulation machines have been marketed as muscle-building "breakthroughs" for at least 15 years. Some marketers claim that if you hook yourself up to one of these machines and lie on the couch while watching TV, they will force your muscles to grow. (Are people really that lazy?) Anyway, electrical stimulation of skeletal muscle involves the placement of surface or needle electrodes on or in muscles, which are then stimulated with a small electrical current in "waves" or intervals. This results in an isometric muscle contraction (tensing, but no change in muscle length). The problem is, isometric contraction is not the optimal method for increasing strength or muscle growth. In fact, the strength that is developed occurs only at the angle at which the contraction occurred.

Thus, if you were trying to get a complete leg workout with an electrical muscle stimulator, you would have to move your leg through a dozen different ranges of flexion and extension and "zap" it in each position. Electrical muscle stimulation can be very beneficial to individuals with spinal-cord injuries, where the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscle has been damaged; however, if you're healthy, there is absolutely no better way to work your muscles than through good old-fashioned weight-lifting!

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: How do I keep up with my workouts while I am traveling?

A: Before you travel, you must plan. Find out if the hotel you are staying at has a gym or at least a set of dumbbells. If not, find out where the closest gym is to where you are staying, and plan when you will work out.

If all else fails, your back-up plan is to do 5 sets of 12 push-ups, waiting just 30 seconds between sets. Do these exercises in your hotel room, first thing in the morning. Even if you can't get an intense workout doing push-ups and sit-ups, at least you can practice the pattern of exercising while traveling.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: Can you give me some pointers on choosing the right quality gym? What is reasonable to expect?

A: It is hard to know which club will offer you the best deal for your money. To a certain extent, choosing the best gym to train in is influenced by your level of expertise and what you need from a club and its employees. For example, if you've been training for years and you already know what all the machines do and you know several different exercises to do for each body part, your needs are different from someone who is just starting out and needs help designing his or her first routine. But generally speaking, these are a few things to keep in mind and ask questions about:
  • What level of education do the gym's employees have? It is important that the people helping you work out have some academic and life-experience education regarding weight training. If the employees don't have a sports medicine or exercise science degree, do they at least have some sort of certification from a recognized organization such as the National Strength and Conditioning Association? Have they ever lifted weights themselves, or are they out of shape and thus cannot truly understand the demands of weight training?
  • How often will the gym-support staff offer to change your program? Many health clubs just try to get you in the door, sign you up, and take your money. Does the gym you're considering have any regularly scheduled follow-up evaluations of your progress? It's important to find out if they offer an initial orientation to equipment you don't know how to use, but it's also important that they schedule times to reevaluate your program and vary the routine in different ways.
  • Does the club management have an emergency medical plan in place? Are the staff members trained in CPR and first aid in case someone becomes ill or injured? What is their plan for an emergency evacuation?
  • Is the gym clean, and is the equipment well-maintained? If dumbbells and weight plates are left all over the club, you will lose valuable time in finding the equipment you need. Additionally, you may trip over some of the mess and hurt yourself or others. Check for the stability of seats on benches and machines and examine the cables. Do the cables appear worn and likely to break?
  • How clean is the air, and is the temperature of the gym kept at a level that won't increase the likelihood injuries? The air in a gym should be fresh and well-circulated. It should never smell stale or musty. The temperature should not be so cold that you can't warm up your muscles and joints. Temperatures that are too cold make joint and muscle injuries more likely.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

 FAQ on Supplements

Q: All supplements appear the same to me, how do I choose?

A: The best way to choose the proper supplements for you is to educate yourself about what you need. Once you know what you need, it is much easier to determine where and who to get it from. Here's a couple of guidelines for you: stick with reputable companies, research the product's design and ingredients, and don't get your information from one source.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: There's been a lot of press coverage in the past about creatine and muscle cramping. Are studies underway to investigate this?

A: Many scientific studies have been published and presented about creatine over the past years, and we have never seen any scientific evidence that creatine increases an athlete's chances of experiencing muscle cramps or "pulls." In fact, results from one recent study conducted at the University of Memphis (entitled "Effects of Creatine Supplementation During Training on the Incidence of Muscle Cramping, Injuries, and GI Distress") revealed no reports of muscle cramping in subjects taking creatine-containing supplements during various exercise training conditions. Among the test subjects were elite junior swimmers, college football players, and trained and untrained endurance athletes.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: Are there any specific times that are best for taking certain supplements?

A: You've heard the phrase, "Timing is everything!" Well, it may not be everything, but it is an important thing. You can increase the effects of supplements by taking them at certain times. For example, a great time to use a protein supplement is right before you go to bed at night, since during sleep, your body builds up protein for the first few hours and then ends up recycling and breaking down protein for several hours. If you are the type of person who gets up in the middle of the night, you might want to consume a whey protein supplement, with about 30 to 40 grams of protein in it. It's a very effective way to help improve anabolic drive and muscle metabolism. Consuming a glutamine supplement with simple carbs in the middle of the ight and/or right before you go to bed may also work well. But, you shouldn't wake up on purpose to have a protein or glutamine supplement at night-sleep is also a very important part of weight training. After training is an excellent time to consume an abundance of protein and carbohydrates, as well as important supplements like creatine, HMB, and glutamine. After you finish working out, your body's metabolism is primed to feed muscle tissue. And a fast-acting protein/carb drink right after exercise may even suppress exercise-induced cortisol production. Some experts recommend that 20 to 30% of your total calorie intake for the day be consumed within an hour or two after training.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I have heard that the dietary supplement industry is unregulated. Why are there not some controls and assurances of public safety?

A: Dietary supplements are most definitely regulated, and any reports that the industry is unregulated are untrue. In fact, the DSHEA and other laws gives the FDA power to oversee dietary supplements and remove any that are unsafe. DSHEA gives specific regulations on how dietary supplement labels should look, and the information needed on labels. The DSHEA also has many regulations about making claims, called Structure/Function claims. In fact, factual information cannot be presented to consumers if it conflicts with making claims about affecting diseases.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: Why should I take vitamins or dietary supplements?

A: Better health. Regardless of what one might hear, there are millions of scientific articles, books and other publications about the health-promoting effects of nutrients that are present in dietary supplements. Many nutrients are essential, or indispensable, meaning we cannot live without ingesting them. Other nutrients are not essential for life, but have health-promoting properties, such as being an antioxidant. Dietary supplements simply keep people healthier and happier.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I hear some health care professionals say that dietary supplements are dangerous and are not needed if I eat a good diet. Is this true?

A: No to both questions. The FDA has removed or prevented the introduction of dietary supplements that were shown to pose hazards for the public. Dietary supplements have shown a tremendous safety record, as would be expected for health-promoting products. In fact, food is more of a hazard than dietary supplements could ever be. Also, established and reputable dietary companies, such as Weider Nutrition International, have internal guidelines that prevent questionable or unsafe products from being considered. Warning and Caution statements appear on dietary supplement product labels if there are any contraindications known.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: What are dietary supplements?

A: Dietary supplements are their own product category separate from foods and drugs. Dietary supplements is the correct term, although nutritional supplements, supplements, vitamins and nutraceuticals are words that have been used to describe dietary supplements. Dietary supplements are products containing nutrients that are able to affect the structure or function of the body. Traditionally, dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbs and other dietary substances.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: What are some of the more popular or important dietary supplements?

A: Multiple vitamin/mineral supplements are the most popular dietary supplement, and provide broad-based nutritional support with a large number of nutrients. Antioxidants are also popular and important for long-term health. These would include vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, selenium and a host of other nutrients. Calcium and other minerals are important for bone health, and a health claim exists to inform consumers about the need for calcium to support bone mass. Joint products containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates have become extremely popular.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I bought an essential-fatty-acid mixture and wanted to know how to store it properly?

A: Essential fatty acids are very sensitive to destruction by light, oxygen, and high temperatures. Make sure your fatty-acid container is opaque as opposed to translucent, and refrigerate the mixture and close the cap tightly after every use.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: Creatine supplementation seems to increase muscle strength. Would it make a person's heart stronger since it is a muscle too?

A: Research has shown that the cardiac tissue of laboratory animals does, indeed, take up creatine; not to the same magnitude as skeletal muscle but to some degree. There are reports of patients with chronic heart failure having low levels of myocardial creatine, and in that situation, administration of creatine is beneficial.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: What is the carbohydrate "maltodextrin" derived from?

A: Maltodextrin may be derived from a number of different sources. However, when listed on "food" sold in the USA, must be (per FDA regulation) made from corn or potato. All maltodextrins in the USA are made from cornstarch, using enzymes that are not derived from wheat, rye, barley, or oats. As such, the maltodextrin found in our products is originally derived from corn.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: What is meant by the term "fat-soluble," especially in reference to vitamins?

A: Essentially, when a vitamin is fat soluble, it means that it dissolves and is carried through the body along with fatty compounds. The fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E, and K. Fat soluble vitamins are able to be stored by the body for future use, usually in the liver and fatty tissues, and as such the daily requirements for the fat-soluble vitamins are much lower than those for the water-soluble (those that dissolve in water) vitamins, B-complex and C. The reasoning there is that water-soluble compounds are not readily stored by the body, as they are flushed out of the system readily via the kidneys, whereas fat-soluble vitamins may be stored in adipose tissues as well as the liver.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: Why is it important to take certain mineral supplements at different times of the day?

A: The time of day that you take your mineral supplements is important because it has an effect on how they will react once in the body. Here are two suggestions:
  • Elements that enhance and regulate energy metabolism, like chromium and copper, should be taken on an empty stomach between breakfast and lunch. A dose of 100 to 200 mcg of chromium and 2 to 4 mg of copper should be sufficient.
  • Elements that may enhance sleep, recovery, healing, regeneration, and growth, like zinc and magnesium, should be taken on an empty stomach before bedtime. The body's maximum daily release of growth hormone occurs about 90 minutes after going to sleep. Both zinc and magnesium may increase the effects of growth hormone, and the peak absorbtion of these minerals occurs about 90 minutes after they are consumed. Approximately 20 to 30 mg of zinc and 400 to 500 mg of magnesium, taken at night, seems to be necessary to optimize effects.
In general, consuming your minerals in between meals on an empty stomach increases absorption; however, in large amounts, it may also increase the potential for side effects such as gastric distress and nausea. If you experience something like this, try taking your minerals with a small meal.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

 FAQ on Sports Preformance

Q: What would be a good pre-workout meal to boost my energy for lifting or an aerobic workout?

A: About 1 to1½ hours before training, it's important to consume a meal composed of a protein source along with a complex, low-glycemic-index (GI) carbohydrate. The protein may allow your body to stay in a positive nitrogen balance for the training session, and the carbohydrates may help fuel the workout. It's important not to eat simple sugars before working out because this may elicit an exaggerated insulin response and cause fluctuations in your blood-sugar levels (i.e., your blood-sugar levels may drop) during the workout, thereby causing a decrease in energy. An example of a good pre-workout meal is as follows:
  • 1 portion of chicken breast (a portion is equal to the size of your clenched fist or the palm of your hand)
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 cup of broccoli and cauliflower
Make sure to wait at least an hour before training after consuming this meal to allow time for proper digestion, and drink plenty of water with your pre-workout meal. According to some experts, dehydrating a muscle by as little as 3% can cause a loss in contractile strength of up to 10%!

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I want to make sure I've hydrated my body well before an important endurance athletic event I have coming up. Any suggestions?

A: You're smart to be concerned about proper hydration. Water consumption is the most important factor in any event, including life itself. If you dehydrate a muscle by as little as 3%, you can cause a loss in contractile strength of about 10%, not to mention an 8% loss in speed. Here's a recommended plan: start drinking extra water a day or two before your event. Then, starting about 4 hours before the event and up until 1 hour before, drink about 8 ounces of water every 10 to 15 minutes. Then, drink an additional 16 ounces before your start, but give yourself at least 20 to 30 minutes for all the fluid to be absorbed. In other words, don't drink anything for about the last half hour. Of course, feel free to drink as much as you want during exercise. In fact, consider forcing yourself to drink about 8 to 10 ounces of water or a carbohydrate drink every 20 minutes or so-more if the weather is very hot and humid.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: Should I eat something before I work out-like an energy bar?

A: This depends on what your goal is. Now, if your only concern is athletic performance, you should consume carbohydrates-like an energy bar or a sports drink-before, during, and after your physical activity. However, if your goal is to lose fat and gain muscle, I do not recommend eating before your workout. This is a mistake many people make. You see, if you supply your body with carbohydrates to use as fuel while you're exercising, you will slow down fat loss. That's why we recommend, for maximum fat-burning effects, you exercise on an empty stomach.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Q: I've heard the terms "concentric and eccentric contractions." What do these mean?

A: A concentric contraction occurs during the lifting phase of an exercise, when the muscle shortens or contracts. For example, when you lift the weight in a bench press, pressing it from your chest to the lock-out position, that is the concentric, or "positive," phase of the exercise. An eccentric contraction occurs during the lowering phase of an exercise, when the muscle lengthens. For example, lowering the weight to your chest during the bench press is the eccentric or "negative," portion of the exercise.

Return to Top
Return to Topic

Click Here For Your Free Bodybuilding and Fitness Magazine Subscription